6/12/14

I am Mute (Guest Submission)

This is a guest post in response to the possible excommunication of John Dehlin and Kate Kelly.


Dear Bishop,

Every week I see you at church and smile. I will smile at people this Sunday.  I magnify my calling, sing the hymns, and take the sacrament with a broken heart.  I love my ward.  At church I find family, friends, support, and love.   You know me as a mother of many who has served in nearly every women's calling.  I do my visiting teaching, serve funeral dinners, and try not to gossip.  

What I never do at church is show my doubt, my questions, or my fears.  Despite the support and love I feel from my fellow saints, deep down I know that if you or my brothers and sisters at church knew how I fight for my faith each day I would be rejected.   If I asked the questions that trouble my heart and break my spirit I would be seen as a sinner.  Only sinners have time to doubt, or question.   When I had no one to trust John Dehlin produced podcast with Teryl Givens, Richard Bushman, Kate Kelly, and other believers and rescued my faith.   When my mother's heart broke when my daughters were labeled immodest for running in track shorts, Kate Kelly bravely spoke out when I feared losing my community.  

My church may think they need to keep doctrine pure and quash dissent.  You should know that cowards like me sit in your pews on Sunday and break a little each week.   We believe in Christ, we don't know where else to find him.   We have felt the Holy Ghost touch our hearts and fill us with light, but our hopes for more light dimmed today.  The light is fading. My church has become a church of conformity instead of freedom.  The traditional family, word of wisdom, modesty, and For the Strength of Youth, have replaced the stories of Jesus I learned in primary.  Sometimes I never hear of my Savior except during the sacrament.  

I want you to know I am here.  The treatment of John and Kate fills my heart with fear and distrust.  I don't know where to turn for peace.  I am Thomas, I am Mary and Martha, I am the man who pleads for help though my unbelief.  I am in your ward.  I am mute.  I am learning that I must ache in silence.  

22 comments:

wendipooh13 said...

thank you thank you thank you for these words!!! I sit here crying because this is me!!!it's me every sunday, it's me as a teen who when questioned things got stared at. Its me who wondered how I could serve a mission when I wasn't sure I could say I believe to everything but wanted to share Christ with others. I can completely relate. This is me too. I am mute.

alison said...

So poignant.

Melody said...

Me too. And I shed quiet tears.

Katie said...

This is perfect.

CMS said...

I am Thomas, I am Mary and Martha, I am the man who pleads for help though my unbelief. I am in your ward. I am mute. I am learning that I must ache in silence.

Chills. Truly. Perfection. much love, Stephanie.

J said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You have summed up my feelings exactly. I have long been struggling, all the while serving faithfully and presenting myself as stalwart. Recent events are making my struggle more difficult and I don't know how to align my feelings about the strength and sanctity of individuality and this approach which seems to be teaching conformity. I am not sure where to go from here but it is helpful to know that you, and others, feel the same thing.

Natalie said...

This is exactly what I feel like

ultra urban said...

well said. thank you. I am Thomas, Mary, and Martha too.

Emily Morris said...

Even as a person who, in general, agrees with these consequences for Dehlin and Kelly, I loved this. Beautiful and thoughtful.

Emily Morris said...

Even as someone who in general supports these consequences for Dehlin and Kelly, this was an amazing and important read. I doubt any of us are the perfect believer. For that reason we should try not to mistrust those who support us.

EFY Health LLC said...

Hi, I think many of us feel this way at times. I wonder if sending a letter, you kniw, snail mail, to Era, Ensign, and Church News or just to the prophet might be ways to get some of these pleas dor understanding answered or at least more in front of the eyes of those that can change the direction.

The church has responded albeit slowly as letters have come in from mothers. Maybe along with posting these thoughts it would be great to push the older forms of communication.

I really do hope that people take notice and address this growing need. And I appreciate yiu taking this constructive approach to get your thoughts and emotions out. That takes real courage.

Lycidia said...

Beautiful! thank you.

Heather said...

So beautiful. This is how I've felt for the better part of a decade.

UtahSouth said...

I have been a branch president, high counselor, bishop's counselor, have been to two solemn assemblies, married in SLC temple, was interviewed for my mission by a young Elder Packer at a time when all mssionaries had to be interviwed by a GA. I was in the SLC mission home and walked across the street for my first temple experience. It was preceeded by a talk by Joseph Fielding Smith, who ask if t here were any questions. I recall the father of one new elder had lots of them. It was my first expeience at sensing all was not well in zion. I was interviewed at 47 E South Temple by Apostle Stapley so I could teach at BYU. I grew up mormon and I still am mormon in many ways. But found I could not again conduct a fast and testimony meeting and give the opening testimony. My bishop wept when I told him I could no longer serve. I had to face reality and reality was that the only true church could not even be truthful about its own history. When I first heard of ordain women, I felt it was too bold. Too confrontational. Too much for the bethren to accept. Then as I saw the logic and truthfulness of it, I still felt it would take decades. But as I read the profiles and testimonies of ordain women, I know it is definitely what the true gospel should and must embrace. Denying women equality in church governance and access to power of the priesthood is simply wrong. And now the brethern see it as an apostate movement which only demonstrates how far from the gospel and Christian values they have strayed. I read Elder Stapley's letter to George Romney where he tells him he is on dangerous ground for accepting equql rights for blacks and he should be very careful. The first presidency signed a letter in 1947 that is so racist and out of touch with church policy today as to be astounding. It was a different time. But for the brethren to continue to be out of touch with simple christian vlaues today is a continuation of being unable to see the future with women fully participating in the gospel as they surely will some day. Rather than call in any sister to a church court, they should instead call them to administrative and priesthood positions where they can greatly contribute to the eternal progression of not just all church members but to all our brothers and sisters in every nation on earth. They are ready, willing and absolutely able. It would just take a letter from the brethren to make it happen.

UtahSouth said...

I have been a branch president, high counselor, bishop's counselor, have been to two solemn assemblies, married in SLC temple, was interviewed for my mission by a young Elder Packer at a time when all missionaries had to be interviewed by a GA. I was in the SLC mission home and walked across the street for my first temple experience. It was preceded by a talk by Joseph Fielding Smith, who ask if t here were any questions. I recall the father of one new elder had lots of them. It was my first experience at sensing all was not well in zion. I was interviewed at 47 E South Temple by Apostle Stapley so I could teach at BYU. I grew up mormon and I still am mormon in many ways. But found I could not again conduct a fast and testimony meeting and give the opening testimony. My bishop wept when I told him I could no longer serve. I had to face reality and reality was that the only true church could not even be truthful about its own history. When I first heard of ordain women, I felt it was too bold. Too confrontational. Too much for the brethren to accept. Then as I saw the logic and truthfulness of it, I still felt it would take decades. But as I read the profiles and testimonies of ordain women, I know it is definitely what the true gospel should and must embrace. Denying women equality in church governance and access to power of the priesthood is simply wrong. And now the brethren see it as an apostate movement which only demonstrates how far from the gospel and Christian values they have strayed. I read Elder Stapley's letter to George Romney where he tells him he is on dangerous ground for accepting equal rights for blacks and he should be very careful. The first presidency signed a letter in 1947 that is so racist and out of touch with church policy today as to be astounding. It was a different time. But for the brethren to continue to be out of touch with simple christian values today is a continuation of being unable to see the future with women fully participating in the gospel as they surely will some day. Rather than call in any sister to a church court, they should instead call them to administrative and priesthood positions where they can greatly contribute to the eternal progression of not just all church members but to all our brothers and sisters in every nation on earth. They are ready, willing and absolutely able. It would just take a letter from the brethren to make it happen.

Grace Clyde said...

Beautiful

Julia Taylor said...

Any letters sent to leaders in Salt Lake are not read by General Authorities, they are sent back to local leaders. I wish it was different, but many local leaders consider even writing a letter an act if disobedience.

Julia Taylor said...

Current church policy is that all issues should be taken to local leaders first. Letters sent to church headquarters are not read and responded to, they are returned to your local leaders for an "appropriate response." Unfortunately, that response is often disciplinary in nature, and/or a warning against future breaches of etiquette, by writing again.

Even when someone is writing a letter that is "appropriate," like a request to have temple blessings restored, the letter is sent along with letters from your bishop and stake president, only after they have read and approved the letter that you have written.

EFY Health LLC said...

Hi, surprising what I don't know about our church history. My wife knew about it. I guess when the Lord dexides it's time to do it again, it'll happen. I never thought the blacks would have the priesthood in my day either.

EFY Health LLC said...

If you think about the size of the church now, they really do need to delegate as much as they can to local church authorities. The church, since about 1975 has been actively requesting local leaders to exercise inspiration. For example, When I asked to go on a mission after having been divorced, the stake president asked for a decision from Salt Lake and Salt Lake asked the stake president to pray and determine the correct couse of action.

I got the go ahead and served a mission in Barcelona Spain.

I do realize that some of our lay leadership have really good communication skills and others could use some soft skills training. Maybe it's a matter of us asking for iur own inspiration, developing out relationship and being willing to adjust our point of view to get to the truth. It may also be one if those things that we're not going to get the answer we're wanting.

I have had some good experiences where just going with the flow has been the answer even though it isn't what I wanted to hear at the time.

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Luisa Meek Orr said...

I've been mulling over your thoughts for about a week. You have a lot of thoughts and emotions jotted down here. A few things that I myself, as a woman & active mormon mom of three disagree with are the following:
-I'm lacking context on the women's comment to your daughter. Was she a thoughtless bystander, was she a concerned YW leader? Was it here message or the way she spoke to your daughter that was offensive. I agree that women and men should wear athletic clothing that allows them to perform their sport to the best of their abilities & skills.
-I believe Chris is in all things (Colossians 1:17). I believe Chris is the head of our church. Therefore, many of the doctrines and principles I study are directly given by him and help me understand more about him.
-Wasn't the "For the Strength of Youth" written by the 1st presidency under inspiration from God? I don't think it is a document to be used to judge others but to help youth be effective disciples of Christ and bring light and the Holy Spirit into their lives.
-It is distressing to me that you don't speak to your personal ethics in public settings at church. I have felt the need to and spoken directly and strongly about issues and comments that have been given that contradict my personal ethics. I've spoken up in settings where both women and men attend. I've spoken directly about the need for obedience COUPLED with knowledge, homosexuality and compassion, addictions and the Atonement, mental health and recently about women and priesthood power. If there are fears & questions & doubts you have....speak up! We need more authentic dialogue in ALL our meetings.
Thank you for your thought provoking article. Know that there are women out there that are changing the atmosphere in church meetings. You can be one effective one as well.